by Sean Nelson, guest blogger
[Editor's Note: Name: Sean Nelson is 46 and his 2012 points were 11,844 (359th overall, 17th - male age 45-49). He is a Human Resource Executive and single dad to two teenagers.]
It was November of 2011 and I came across a Spartan Race advertisement on the Web. The last Sprint of the year would be held that weekend in Versailles, IL. It was Thursday and I didn’t have my kids that weekend, so I decided (totally out of character) to fly out to Chicago and make the trek out to Cliff’s Insane Terrain Park and just do this thing! I wasn’t registered for the race, but luck would have it I was staying at the same hotel as the Spartan leadership and crew. I got up early on Saturday and ran into Jaloyn Fockler who introduced me to Joe Desena and Andy Weinberg. Instantly, we connected, they helped me get hooked-up for my inaugural Spartan Race that morning so I could make my plane back out that night, and it was amazing! My successful first experience with Spartan racing exemplifies why they are so successful and why they will dominate the Obstacle racing world in the years to come. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but decided the answer to “how” was simply “yes”, translated to mean you don’t need all the answers before you can accomplish new and exciting things in your life. If you don’t like where you are or what your life has become, change it, just say “yes” to something new and jump in. This is how Joe D. runs the company, saying “yes” and doing new and cool things along the way. I am sure this drives people a little crazy, but it has been a recipe for success and will be the difference between Spartan and the others!
Since my first race, I have been a Spartan faithful, running numerous races (one with my teenage son) and completing the Trifecta in 2012 (see my cool new – and first ever- tattoo celebrating that accomplishment!) It was more than the accomplishment itself that enabled me to permanently ink my body with a Spartan…it’s also the Spartan Code!
Spartan Racing serves as a catalyst and constant motivator for me to maintain a high-level of fitness as well as encourage others to get off their asses and do something they never imagined…it reminds me of the famous Man in the Arena quote (see below).
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Teddy Roosevelt
The 3 Pillars of Spartan Dominance
Besides running the organization on a simple vision and focusing on the race and not their egos, the Spartan race will dominate this industry because of these three keys:
(1) The Challenge – For anyone who has done a Spartan Race, there really is no explanation needed here. But for the sake of anyone who hasn’t, the Spartan Race becomes the most difficult physical challenge in most people’s lifetime. For me, the NJ Super at Mountain Creek was absolutely grueling and the hardest physical activity I have ever undertaken. And it should be noted, there are many Spartan races (Ultra Beast, Death Race) that I have not done! The combination of running, strength, elements and terrain make for a functional fitness test that cannot be duplicated even in the hardest Crossfit gym! What makes the Spartan Races unique is the different distances and varied locations opening up this challenge for many more people at different levels of ability and fitness. In addition, it’s the new unique races in major league stadiums and a willingness to try anything to see if it works, the answer to how is yes. My hope is that we’ll expand and someday do Spartan Triathlons at the different distances!
(2) The Community – The Spartan Community is growing all the time, when you meet someone who has completed a race, you have an instant connection, you know there’s something special about that person, a shared experience, a comrade. During the races, no one leaves a Spartan, we assist, we cheer, we stop so that our new friend can continue to best the challenge in front of them. This is a community of people who know challenge, show up and take it on, and celebrate when they get done. The tag line is – ”You’ll know at the finish line”. What you know is that you have risen to the challenge, competed against yourself and have become a greater being than you had been before you began.
(3) The Code – Ultimately, the Spartan Code represents a set of tenets that I can buy into and to live for, a convention that will make me a whole person, a better person, the type of person we need more of in our world – those who live life to the fullest. The code addresses physical and mental fitness, leadership, charity, integrity, learning and full living. It distinguishes the Spartan from the Warriors, Mudders and Dashers in that it comes with a higher calling, being more about the community and about being better than you might naturally!
Keep pushing, keep growing, keep racing…Aroo, Aroo, Aroo! It’s your turn, get signed up today! For a list of events, click HERE.